Pop-Synth Duo Cardiknox Talks New Album ‘Portrait’

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for a cool album to listen to without skipping any songs – and luckily, there’s a killer new album by pop-synth duo Cardiknox titled Portrait that totally meets the criteria.

We talked to Cardiknox about what makes their music so radical and dance-party worthy. Read our interview below.

Galore First things first, how did you guys form the band?

Lonnie: We both originated from Seattle and were introduced through a mutual friend. Thomas was previously the frontman of an indie rock band and had just written a rock opera called “Razia’s Shadow.” And since I have a musical theater background, we paired up and went to New York City to work on musical theater together. We ended up writing other songs together that reflected where we were at, and it ended up getting a great reaction.

How do you guys collaborate when writing your music?

Thomas: Speaking very generally, I mostly do the drums and production and Lonnie mostly does the melody and top line – but we do crossover. We’ve never independently written a song, it’s always been together. I’ve heard of artists writing two songs a day. I don’t know how they do it — it seems like they would be horrible!

If “Wildchild” were to be on a movie soundtrack, what movie would it be?

Thomas: It’d be Kevin McAllister’s Home Alone party anthem. Specifically, the montage where he is jumping on his parents’ bed, reading his brothers’ Playboy magazines, and just having a great time.

If you were to tell someone about your music that hasn’t heard it – how would you want it described?

Thomas: We’ve found that too many words confuse people. I would call it “pop-synth” because it helps describe its’ 80’s vibe.

Lonnie: Yeah, it’s easier to keep it simple. And even though sometimes it causes a negative reaction, I just call it “pop music.”

If you could play an acoustic show like MTV unplugged, what songs would you cover?

Lonnie: “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper and “I’m Just A Girl” by No Doubt.

Thomas: “Diamonds and Pearls” by Prince and “King of Wishful Thinking” by Go West.

If “Bloodlust” were to be on a movie soundtrack, what movie would it be?

Thomas: Kill Bill. I’m a huge fan of Tarantino and that movie. It’s definitely a song about getting your revenge.

Lonnie: Thomas loves that movie, he even has a tattoo in honor of it.

Why is it called “Portrait”?

Thomas: The reason it’s called “Portrait” is because it’s a portrait of where both of our head spaces were at. It’s definitely about hope and determination. Especially because I had been down this path before with my previous band and not been as successful as I wanted it to be. It’s about believing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and never stopping.

What about the two “party” songs on the album?

Thomas: It’s funny that you should ask, because when we first submitted our selects of the songs we wanted to include on the album to the label, “Wildchild” and “Supermodel” weren’t included. We felt they didn’t go with the rest of the album. But then when everyone heard those, they told us we HAD to include them because they loved them so much!

Lonnie, do you feel there is pressure for female musicians to wear less and portray a very sexy image?

Lonnie: My father always said there are three genders in music: men, women and female musicians – the latter category is made up of women who rock and who can own their own space. I think you can be beautiful and attractive and empower yourself in that way, you don’t have to empower yourself by being nude. When people come to our shows, I want them to feel empowered and have a great fucking time – when I wear my hair up in the double buns, there is something about it that makes me feel super empowered, and I want everyone who sees us to feel that same way.

Thomas, have you ever done anything using your musical abilities to convince a girl to go out with you?  

Thomas: [Laughs] When I was in middle school, I was obsessed with a song by Blink 182 called “Dammit.” It was before anyone really knew who they were, or anything about that song. I played it for a girl I had a huge crush on and told her that I wrote it for her.

Lonnie: Wait, you claimed that you wrote it for her?!

Thomas: I may have even recorded it on my Talkboy and made a cassette tape for her. And then when Blink 182 became popular, I just said “Oh, I really like the song.” I can’t remember if she ever figured it out or not.

What is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened on tour?

Lonnie: We were playing three nights in a row in one city, and I ended up losing my voice in the middle of the last show. I literally sounded like a frog croaking. I just ran off stage and then called my mom and cried!

Thomas: For one of our first shows on tour, we had our lights programmed to go with our music. For some reason during a certain part of our first song, our big light would come on and cause all the power to go out. We would start over, and it would happen again. Once we unplugged the lights, everything worked – but it was not a good way to start off the tour!

What’s next for the band? When does the tour kick off?

Lonnie: We are playing Bonnaroo next, and our tour starts in July with Phoebe Ryan. We also will be filming our next video for “Wildchild” soon. I can’t tell you what it will be, but I can promise it will have really fun stuff!

For more information and tour dates, visit www.cardiknox.com and don’t forget to download the new album, “Portrait” on iTunes. 

Artwork by Megan Lockhart

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